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What's To Become Of UK Gov Camp?

A couple of months ago I wrote a job description for a new post. Included in it was a line about attending camps and unconferences to share ideas and learn from best practice as part of the role.

To be clear, when I wrote the spec I wasn’t expecting this person to be spending many days a month, swanning round the country attending everything they could. Clearly there’s a balance between talking about stuff and putting it into practice.

Equally, as someone who preaches “Digital by Choice” if there are ways to contribute online, then these should also be considered. There’s usually no better medium than face-to-face, however (I’m sure you already know) digital can often be cheaper and more convenient.

It’s with this in mind I read that James Cattell was organising UK Gov Camp 2014 (UKGC) and he was investigating expanding or evolving it, something that I agree needs to happen given the interest in the 2013 event.

Now here’s the thing, that links back to the job description I wrote. Until camps and unconferences are seen as something that one does as part of their role we’re never going to be able to fulfil the potential of collaboration and share as much as we could.

So my two suggestions are this; firstly run UKGC over two days, a Friday and a Saturday. Things aren't going to change overnight but running it on a Friday says it’s a professional event, not just something local gov nerds (like me) do in their spare time and those who can’t come along in work time can still attend on the Saturday.

Secondly, have a greater emphasis on digital so that the conversation can extend out of the room. I tweeted, not entirely seriously, about hooking someone up with a Peep Show style headcam and Mark Braggins commented that actually Google Glass could do this which is a great idea. It also means that simultaneous events could be run across the country at the same time as well as people joining in wherever they are in the world.

That’s my take on UKGC14. Bigger, more professional and doing more with digital, without losing the things that make it unique.

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